WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON WITH THE UNION AND HPD CHIEF HAROLD HURTT?

IS THERE MORE TO THE SURVEY OF NO CONFIDENCE THAN WE KNOW?

I was standing outside of 61 Riesner, the old Houston Police Department headquarters, Thursday night when a HPD sergeant approached me and asked what story I was reporting on. When I told him about the HPOU union’s survey on Chief Harold Hurtt he just started talking. What I noticed about his conversation was that it was the same as several other rank and file officers I had previously spoken with. This sergeant who wants to remain anonymous said he thought the union’s survey was a bunch of bull—-. He says the union only began opposing Chief Hurtt shortly after Hans Marticiuc, the president of HPOU, barely won re-election to his post. He says the rank and file was extremely upset with Marticiuc over the last contract negotiation and pension battle with Mayor Bill White. He went on to say Marticiuc, who had won previous re-elections by landslides, only got back into office in 2005 by the skin of his teeth. According to union records Marticiuc beat out Ray Hunt by 164 votes. This cop went on to say in the recent past too many officers thought Hans was too close to the administration and out of touch with the rank and file. So the cop says the only way Hans could solidify his position and garner more support was to use Chief Hurtt as a sacrificial lamb by opposing him very publicly. It would once again make him a voice of the rank and file. Hence, the survey on Chief Hurtt was unveiled. That sergeant went on to question the results saying the survey was designed to give Hurtt a bad grade from cops. And he questioned if the survey results were authentic saying some of the forms were just sitting in the union hall where anyone could fill them out multiple times and sway the rank and file’s opinion. Other HPD officers also point to Marticiuc supporting transgender Sgt. Jack/Julia Oliver. The Insite was told Hans was getting a lot of heat for supporting the cop so publicly and the membership was on his back for that as well. This sergeant wasn’t the first to tell The Insite the same exact story. I have heard this same scenario for the reasoning behind the survey over and over again. (HANS SIDE OF THE STORY) But Marticiuc has gone on record saying this is not about him versus the chief. He says this is the feeling of the rank and file. Marticiuc says that’s why they are relying on the results of the survey and not just union leaders. He went on to say he even gave Hurtt 7 additional months to get his act together. But some of those in the rank and file are simply not buying it saying this is solely the union attempting to thrust the department back into the good old boy days when the group had a lot of influence over the police chief. Other officers, who wish to remain anonymous, tell The Insite Chief Hurtt has brought strict discipline but fairness to the department…In other words, no matter who you are in HPD if you break the rules Hurtt will take disciplinary action even if you’re a high ranking official in the union. However, they do say some of Hurtt’s priorities are misplaced with the tattoo and beard rules that have ticked off so many officers. The question is who do you believe on this issue? I’d like to hear your opinion…

8 Comments

  1. Anonymous July 14, 2006 11:20 am 

    Isiah you should’ve also added how Mark Clark, The executive director of the union, has a contract with the city for camera monitoring. And strangely enough Hans Marticiuc wrote an editorial supporting red light and monitoring cameras here in the city of Houston. And don’t forget how Clark has an ax to grind because Chief Hurtt called him on the carpet for not showing up to work during Hurricane Rita.

  2. Anonymous July 14, 2006 11:37 am 

    Ike,

    you’re the first reporter in Houston to finally get the story right. Unfortunately, it’s not on television. This is the exact reason why The Union is going after the Chief Hurtt.

  3. Anonymous July 14, 2006 1:01 pm 

    Lokk Peoples Hurt is a cocky black Man that thinks his shit doesnt stink after eating greens and ox tail….Please that man cant even speak english. What has he done for the black comm. to stop all this black on black crime…Cant support him if he doesnt give a dman about his people….So all you fools dont run to the rescue just yet……….

  4. Anonymous July 15, 2006 2:34 am 

    “But some of those in the rank and file are simply not buying it saying this is solely the union attempting to thrust the department back into the good old boy days when the group had a lot of influence over the police chief. Other officers, who wish to remain anonymous, tell The Insite Chief Hurtt has brought strict discipline but fairness to the department.”

    I doubt any HPD officer(s) said this unless it was a sarcastic response taken out of context. The HPD disciplinary process is one that would amaze even the most jaded of ACLU pundits; cops are typically considered automatically guilty of a charge long before the investigation has started. This is why the independent arbitrators hearing the facts of their cases overwhelmingly overturn or reduce discipline. In the civilian world, such a process would be akin to a Star Chamber and expecting cops faced with such a process to treat the general public in a professional manner is asking a whole lot.

    The blog editorial was interesting in how it weaved half truths, conspiracy theories, and the kind of gossip one would expect from someone with an axe to grind. I don’t blame Mr. Carey for printing it on his personal blog; it had all the elements needed for a sensationalistic piece that would never withstand the scrutiny of the Chronicle’s fact checkers, but the internal inconsistencies of the comments made in the piece amaze even me, and I’ve been around a lot of cops for a number of years.

  5. Anonymous July 18, 2006 12:23 pm 

    Chieff Hurt came into the scene not long ago because the HPD wasn’t working properly. The past mayor before White showed corruption when he rewarded his chief of police with a larger pension package at the last moment before retirement, even after all the scandals of poor management, lying under oath, and the fiasco of the infamous Houston DNA lab.
    Mayor White and the new Police Chieff Hurtt came with a new way of doing things and its natural the rank and file would feel the pressure to adjust to the new regime. It’s hard to know what the real reasons are for the negative rank and file’s view of the chief, but in my view he has tried to show discipline and get things done. He came to talk to our community and he was receptive to our concerns. Most folks are black here (I am not).

  6. Anonymous July 18, 2006 5:19 pm 

    We thank God for enabling us to make another stop on this journey. The journey from slavery to freedom than to equality is a daunting journey. We know that strong minds break strong chains and when we stand up, oppressors fall from our backs.

    But today, our mission is not merely looking in the mirror at ourselves and assessing personal behavior.

    These surveys or questionaires that have been circulated are motors which assess and are directed personally towards Chief Hurtt and not professionally towards the good job that Chief Hurtt is doing.

    Today, we struggle with a tug of war for the soul of the Houston Police Department. Mayor White has concluded that Houston is fortunate to have an experirnced and respected police chief who has been recognized by his peers as a national leader in law enforcement.

    In our eyes, chief Hurtt has brought increased levels of professsionalism, accountability and productivity to the Houston Police department and continues to do so.

    We must be long-distance runners and over-time players. Chief Hurtt is a long-distance runner. He needs over-time players. One-lap runners, glass-jaw fighters, tender heads, fragile hearts can’t survive.

    The men and women of the Houston Police Department and the citizens of Houston are the and will be the true winners and must survive the curves and potholes in the road.

    There are many agenda’s in law enforcement and the actual running of a large law enforcement agency.

    Daily I receive many complaints regarding how do many of my members survive the culture acts of racism and discriminatory treatment. I always remind them of that daunting journey that no one is exempt from fighting, no one regardless of color has to fight for righteous and learn to control the ignorant.

    It my hopes that Chief Hurtt will realize were his allies really stand.

    J.M.”Smokie” Phillips, Jr.President
    Afro-American Sheriff’s Deputy League

  7. Anonymous July 25, 2006 5:25 pm 

    C.O. Bradford was the worst chief of police in Houston in the past 20 year history of HPD. If Hans wouldn’t try a no-confidence vote on Bradford, how does he ever hope to get it on Hurtt. Hurtt ain’t perfect but he’s head and shoulders above Bradford.

  8. Anonymous July 29, 2006 1:19 am 

    The mayor wanted an outsider and ended up with someone not suited for the specific problems facing Houston. Could Hurtt be salvaged as a leader? According to the ones doing the work, this seems unlikely. I don’t think we should cater to the officers every whim but a lack of leadership has plagued HPD for generations and Hurtt is more of the same from the looks of it.

    Did he address the crime lab problem or was it already under review?

    Did he lower crime or was that the existing trend simply continuing as it had for years?

    Did he cause hundreds of officers to retire early or was that largely due to pension changes?

    Do any of us really care if some cop has a USMC tattoo when he’s lending us a hand after a member of our own community robs us?

    Do any of us really care if some cop has a medical condition forcing him to wear a beard so long as the officer is professional?

    Ask yourselves this question: has Hurtt done anything to make Houston a truly better place considering the hundreds of millions of dollars we pour into public safety spending?

    Considering how much we pay him, I’d expect a lot more bang for the buck. There are plenty of far more qualified local candidates that should have been given the spot, including some on Hurtt’s command staff. In all, I’m glad the cop union pointed out how poorly their chief is doing; maybe the mayor will reconsider someone else for the spot.

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